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New lawmaker wary of political gimmicks

Editor’s note: With more new legislators than ever before, Nevada will have some of its freshest political faces coping with the state’s greatest problems. In an occasional series, the Las Vegas Review-Journal introduces the newly elected lawmakers who are about to take office in Carson City.

Although he had no idea at the time, Mark Sherwood’s experience with testing an experimental glove to control video games would lead to him taking a hand in Nevada politics 20 years later.

Sherwood, newly elected to represent Assembly District 21 in Clark County, once had a job in his hometown of Seattle as a video game tester for Nintendo of America. The job exposed him to the latest in video game technology before it hit store shelves.

Among those products was the Power Glove, a cumbersome plastic and wire gauntlet that offered players rudimentary control of video games through hand movement.

"It was a flop," Sherwood, 40, said of the device, which was heavy, awkward and worked with just a few unappealing games.

Shortly after, Nintendo appeared doomed for obsolescence thanks to the rise of the Sony PlayStation. Sherwood moved on to a career in media sales, which took him to New York, Philadelphia and then Las Vegas, where he worked a stint in the advertising department at the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Like most people, Sherwood had all but forgotten the Power Glove.

Sherwood was reminded of the device recently when he bought a Nintendo Wii video game system for his family, a system now leading the market with high-tech, wireless controllers that deliver performance the old glove couldn’t muster.

Sherwood then realized that when it appeared to the world Nintendo was sliding toward oblivion, the company was actually charting the course of its own resurrection.

"Nintendo came back with a vengeance. They didn’t give up," Sherwood said. "They were investing for the next decade. They weren’t investing for next Christmas."

He says the Nevada Legislature should follow companies such as Nintendo and take a long view of governing. To that end, Sherwood has pictures of Nevada from 100 years ago for his office to remind him to think about what the state might look like 100 years in the future.

Sherwood hopes to avoid falling prey to the kind of gimmicks and political scare tactics that often lead to shortcuts.

"When you are fixated on getting your name on bills and scoring cheap political points, you are not doing the right thing," Sherwood said.

Sherwood also takes strength from the perspective he gained on a Mormon mission in Santiago, Chile.

That experience made him realize he needed to do more than get by as a class clown and taught him to overcome fear of rejection by fighting for something bigger than himself.

"Jesus Christ and what he did for us is a lot bigger than whether I get run off by some guy at the door," he said.

In Carson City, Sherwood wants to prevent tax increases and remove bureaucratic barriers he says inhibit small business development and job creation.

That, he says, will help Nevada chart a sustainable recovery from its own economic malaise.

"You help people by having an environment where we can help ourselves," he said.

Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at bspillman@ reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861.

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